I don’t even like politics and here I am bombarded by three elections — count them 1, 2, 3 — happening all within five months of each other — two in the month of June alone! There are so many politicians running around this town you can’t leave the house without bumping into one. It reminds me of the cockroaches that used to scurry across my kitchen floor on D Street whenever I’d surprise them with a light. I didn’t like that and I don’t like this not one little bit. My landlord-friend-neighbor, Len, suggested that perhaps as an antidote for my overdose of politicians I should become one myself. Run in one of these elections, bang on doors of people who really don’t want to talk to me, spout words and say nothing. I didn’t even acknowledge his suggestion with a smile.
Just to make it even more confusing, there’s two elections happening in the month of June alone! I have to stop and think who-when-where-what every time I see another sign go up. Is this for the Provincial election? The Federal election? And then, and then, there’s that election in October that will include that embarrassing-buffoon of a mayor of ours. I’m sure he’ll make a grand re-entry all cleaned up from his addictions and spouting all kinds of lies about what he has done for the city — and some people will vote for him! But, one small concession, the propaganda for that election isn’t allowed to be sprawled all over the neighborhoods until a month before — be thankful for small favors, eh?
Part of the problem, is that I just don’t understand politics here. You’d think after 19 years on the scene I’d have figured it out by now, but I haven’t. I have managed to master a lot of other Canadiana — like calling “alleys” “laneways” and saying “sorry” even when I’m not. I can even drop an “eh” here and there with no hint of an American accent. But that’s not a good example since I had already tucked that into my vocabulary during my first relationship with the murmuring ex-husband back in the 1960s. I thought it was cute and my using it would appeal to him. I was a little naive about such things way back then. But, to get back to this political stuff, I just don’t get it. How can you bring down the government and force an election just by not voting for the budget? (Well, I guess Congress in the USofA tries to do a version of that every year, right?) And, I ask you, what is this “Vote of Confidence”? And, and, how can you have an election any old time and not on a particular Tuesday in November????
Don’t get me wrong — just because I can’t abide politicians and campaigning, doesn’t mean I’m against voting. No siree. I took those Lessons in Democracy classes in grade 8 very seriously. As soon as I turned 21, I was out there on election days — even in DC where, for years, city elections were no more than voting for school board or neighborhood councils! When I moved to Europe, I really missed lining up and dropping my secret ballot in the box. I never understood the politics there either but still wanted to belong — most of all in Spain. I was there for the first election after Franco, finally, left the scene. I was much more excited than my co-workers in the purse factory about that historical event. I kept saying to them, “Go vote! It’s your right.” These ladies were having none of it — not even when a group of men (probably drunk) started serenading us from the street. “VOTA! VOTA! VOTA!” I joined their chant, banging on my table for effect. This only produced raised eyebrows and a few smirks from my co-workers. Then, my tablemate, Dolores, the wild rebel of the group, stood up and pulled off her protective sleeves and marched out, grabbing her friend, Milagros, on the way out. The two of them dared that pipsqueak of a floor manger to say a thing. I was very proud of them and yelled after them, “Go have a coffee too!”
So, politicians or no politicians, I’ll be in that polling place for all those elections. Then, when the wrong person is elected, and brings havoc to this country, or city or province, I can be smug and resurrect my old bumper sticker from DC: “Don’t Blame Me — I Voted for the Other Guy!“